ASLA Foundation Article

The Western Cape-based ASLA Group is a construction group that specialises in offering public and private sector clients design and construct solutions, in particular for residential civils, bulk and building infrastructure. It has, since 1995, contributed to the Human Settlements Programme by designing and constructing more than 70 000 affordable homes.

The group’s projects within marginalised and poor communities bring it face-to-face with the need for social infrastructure that government should but does not always have the resources to provide. “We recognised that collaborative, socio-economic development spends and a pooling of business and civil society resources, would have a far greater impact, and go much further, than the group’s limited annual corporate social investment budget,” says ASLA CEO Werner Jerling.

The ASLA Group’s construction contracts see it uniquely situated within these communities. Here it is made aware of urgent requirement for additional social amenities (libraries, safe havens, and schools, among others) that are integral to building healthy communities, and not just residential areas. Although many of the sustainable infrastructure development needs are not, or cannot be met by the state, it may be in the position to identify and make land available for these amenities. Civil society can, in partnership with the state, assist in bringing these services and amenities to communities.

In addition to investing its CSI spend and allocating its resources to ASLA Foundation initiatives and projects, the ASLA Group is able to increase value through:

  • Contributing knowledge and skills through sweat equity.
  • Assisting challenging social infrastructure projects through the myriad of regulatory measures and red tape.
  • Leveraging its supplier and subcontractor relationships and offering them opportunities to collaborate through their own CSI programmes.
  • Ensuring quality and cost-effective implementation.
  • Providing training to enable communities to enjoy the benefits of employment on the projects.

The current relationship with the ASLA Foundation is a supportive and nurturing one. “It is our dream to see the Foundation’s impacts grow as more like-minded organisations join us in contributing toward fixed social infrastructure that have lasting value to communities that need this most. This truly will make the Foundation a major agent for change,” concludes Jerling.